My review of the first book is here.
I still feel kind of weirdly ambivalent about these books. Everything the copy says about the lush gothicness, it’s true; I find the prose really compelling, something sweet and syrupy and addictive. It engages all the senses, it draws you into its dark embrace… it is exactly the rich velvety experience promised by the titles: A Taste of Blood Wine, A Dance in Blood Velvet, The Dark Blood of Poppies…
I was a little ambivalent with the first book because of the fear that it was going to glorify the vampirism as some kind of true love, some kind of real romanticism. In a way, it does: Karl and Charlotte do truly love one another, and they’ll come through their trials to find each other again. But at the same time, it never shies away from the monstrousness, which is in part what makes it so compelling. Their power, hypnotic, sensual; their pain and separation from humanity. It’s done well, that constant push-and-pull, their dependence on humanity, the way they may kid themselves they feel above.
“Fierce, intolerant and possessive” is how Charlotte describes their love — there are no illusions here about it. I think I’m okay with that, as long as the books continue walking this line between monstrous and sympathetic. Andreas, for example, is one character who seems to fall on the other side of the line in his sheer self-absorption. Ilona, in her amoral gloating about what she is, the way she plays it to the hilt. Charlotte and Karl aren’t perfect either, but they try not to fall into that, and it works to make them interesting characters.
Now what I’m not sure about is the mythology; the angels, or whatever they are, and Violette/Lilith. After Kristian’s fall in the first book, it seemed like it was going a more rationalist route with Charlotte’s beliefs, and then there was a ton of occult stuff in this book. I’m gonna read The Dark Blood of Poppies, though, definitely; if Warrington can keep me uncertain but riveted through two books, I’m along for the ride with the next two.